January 25, 2008

Wild bird deaths spark cull debate
The Times of India - timesofindia.indiatimes.com
25 Jan 2008
Area: India

Many migratory birds are dying in lakes and bils of Bengal’s bird flu-hit areas. But neither the state animal resources department (ARD) nor the forest officials had any clue about steps that need to be taken. While the ARD said it was up to the forest department to decide on the course of action, the latter was waiting for directions from the Centre as there are no instances of migratory birds being culled in India.

The good news for Kolkata amid the confusion was that the dead bird recovered from the Santragachhi lake last week had not been infected by the virus. "We have collected blood samples of migratory birds from Cooch Behar, where a lesser whistling teal died recently. It has already been passed on to the High Risk Animal Diseases Laboratory in Bhopal and we are expecting the test result shortly. But we are not sure of the measures to be taken in case H5NI is confirmed.

Battle over bighorns: State seeks solutions to domestic vs. wild sheep conflict
Times-News - www.magicvalley.com
25 Jan 2008
M Christensen
Area: Idaho, USA
Photo courtesy of M Thompson/Times-News

A political and wildlife crisis surrounding one of Idaho's iconic animals is brewing between state officials, environmentalists and the domestic sheep industry. At odds are an industry established before the Oregon Trail and advocates for bighorn sheep, a species pictured in American Indian rock wall paintings in Hells Canyon. Environmentalists want to end domestic sheep grazing on public lands, where they say bighorns are dying off.

Sheep ranchers say their $17 million-a-year industry, which has struggled since the 1960s, would collapse without access to federal grazing areas. "This could lead to massive closures of grazing lands across the state," said Laird Noh, a Kimberly sheep rancher and former legislator who once chaired the Senate's Resources and Environment Committee. "There could be no-trespassing signs up all over."

Human sniffles kill endangered chimps

NewScientist - www.newscientist.com
24 Jan 2008
D MacKenzie

Human researchers are killing wild chimpanzees by inadvertently giving them colds, a new study shows for the first time. The researchers in Africa now face a dilemma: let tourists and scientists get close to Africa's great apes and risk spreading diseases, or curb contact with the apes and leave them vulnerable to a bigger threat – poachers. For scientists to study wild gorillas and chimpanzees, and for eco-tourists to see them, groups of "habituated" apes must let people get within a few metres of them.

It has long been suspected that this spreads human respiratory viruses, which apes can catch. Up to half the apes in such groups have died after showing respiratory symptoms. However, it is hard to pinpoint what has killed a wild ape, says Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany, who runs a chimp health project in the Tai forest in Ivory Coast.

State Designates Potential Bovine TB High-Risk Area in Iosco County

Michigan Farmer - michiganfarmer.com
24 Jan 2008
Area: Michigan, USA

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Agriculture (MDA) today announced that routine bovine Tuberculosis (TB) testing has identified two TB-positive deer in Iosco County from the 2007 hunting season. As a result, MDA designated two "Potential High-Risk Areas" near the southern boundary of bovine TB Zone where the deer were harvested.

In addition, a deer harvested during the late antlerless season in Shiawassee County, which is located more than 100 miles to the south of the TB Zone, may be positive for bovine TB. The DNR is waiting for final test results before it can confirm the deer was bovine TB positive. "We have routinely designated potential high-risk areas in the past. These designations are dropped after six months of disease surveillance testing if no bovine TB is found," says MDA State Veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead. "There are approximately 90 farms within the two 10-mile areas around the Iosco County deer and 100 farms around the suspect deer in Shiawassee County."



WILD BIRDS AND AVIAN INFLUENZA: An introduction to applied field research and disease sampling techniques. FAO - 2007 [PDF]

Wildlife Disease Association Newsletter – January 2008
Volume 44, Issue 1

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